Care-leaver support recognised
14 May 2013
Aberystwyth University has received a glowing report from Buttle UK, the largest UK charity providing support for “children and young people living in poverty to give them a fighting chance”.
Following a visit from the Buttle UK Chair of Trustees, David Anderson, the University was recognised as having support structures which exceed the needs of care-leavers. No areas which require improvement were identified.
Reporting on his visit, which included discussions with care-leavers, David Anderson said, “Your focus on widening access is self-evident both from discussion and from reading your strategic plan. We looked for areas for improvement and found none. It was quite clear to me that properly supporting care-leavers from the time of application was embedded in your culture and your systems.”
Aberystwyth University was first awarded the Quality Mark from Buttle UK in 2008, in recognition of its ambitious plans to work with young people who attend the University from care. Since receiving the award, the University has ensured that its structures and systems continue to meet the needs of all students and particularly those who enter the University from more challenging backgrounds.
Professor April McMahon, Aberystwyth University’s Vice-Chancellor commented: “At Aberystwyth we take the student experience very seriously, and that means treating every student as an individual. However, it is especially pleasing that we have been recognised as providing so well for students who face particular challenges. We have appropriate support structures for all young people, including care-leavers, from the moment they apply to the University through to Graduation and entry into our alumni community.”
Dr Debra Croft, Widening Participation Manager, said, “We have worked hard to find the best ways to assist care-leavers before entry, on arrival and through to graduation. The Buttle UK ‘best practice’ of having a single named person helps with this – care-leavers have often had a really disrupted life, with few constants; this is one way we can start to build their trust and success.”
Aberystwyth has introduced and improved on measures to support both young people in care who are thinking of applying to Aberystwyth, and care-leavers who already study at the University.
These include a priority programme to take part in various widening access projects including the Summer University scheme or Expanding Horizons GCSE revision.
The University provides advice and guidance through the application process, including support for Open and Visiting days which can be daunting for individuals who are leaving care and attending on their own.
On registration, care-leavers are eligible for an enhanced Starter Pack and are met during Freshers’ Week to ensure they receive all the support they need.
All care-leavers are guaranteed 365 days accommodation, and are able to take advantage of generous bursary and mentoring provision.
Buttle UK http://www.buttleuk.org/, formerly known as The Frank Buttle Trust, is the largest UK charity providing grant aid solely to individual “children and young people living in poverty to give them a fighting chance”. . Founded in 1937 and operational since 1953, the charity has helped many thousands of vulnerable children, young people and families throughout the United Kingdom.
The words of care-leavers:
" ... sometimes it can feel as though you're the only one, BUT hearing others talk made me realize what great support you have offered to all of us and how you and your team continue to help others in need. .... Thank you for all your support throughout my student life here."
[L. (female), 3rd year Geography student]
“… one of things I feel is that I can always contact someone for help, and it will happen; this hasn’t always been the case in the past, with social workers and teachers.” [F. (male). 3rd year Law student]
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